Game Changers

Posted: July 2, 2014

One very early morning, I woke up thinking about being a game changer. Being a brand specialist, my mind drifted off to asking myself, why should any brand want to be a game changer?

Margareth Gustavo, Managing Director, Cornerstone Joe Public Consultants (Pty) Ltd,

One very early morning, I woke up thinking about being a game changer. Being a brand specialist, my mind drifted off to asking myself, why should any brand want to be a game changer?

To answer my question, I needed to understand what a game changer is? So I googled. The Investopedia site says a “game changer changes the way that something is done, thought about or made”. It continues to describe, a game changer “to being one who has new and different ideas that stand out from the crowd”. I guess those that defy the existing state of affairs. Game changers are those brands with an idea that completely change the way a situation develops. After that, I thought woah – BRING IT ON!

My understanding of a game changer is that, they change the landscape of how things are done in their industry, which immediately sets them apart from competitors. A game changers focus is on novelty, they have no excuses (they realize, they cannot afford excuses if they want to change the game), and they will do whatever necessary to deliver on what they promised they would.

These brands have a different vocabulary, according to Forbes Magazine, they see things, others don’t, they do things differently, and they make things that others are too afraid to make. They “serve” the market because they realize that in serving they are setting up a future.

These brands are the “trees that catch the most wind”, they allow the wind to mold and shape them into what they need to be to make it. They are the ones that see returns that leave others wanting. Game changers have vision, they are focused, they have purpose – they know why they exist and are consistent in their pursuit of leaving an indelible mark in the sphere they operate in, for generations to come.

A game changer stays on top of their game; their employees want to work for them. They change the world around them. I am reminded of the Namibian pasta brand “Pasta Polana”. In the process of milling wheat flour they experienced an “aha” moment, and perceived that there is an opportunity to create a new revenue stream from wheatened flour. Pasta was investigated and put onto the market. Based on their previous Managing Directors statement in 2011, at the opening of their state of the art second pasta plant launch - in the first year of operation, Pasta Polana achieved a 51% market share. Why are they a game changer? They were unafraid when they launched pasta into the Namibian market and changed the way pasta is consumed, locally.

Being a game changer requires that you understand the company, the environment around you, and follow your intuition. They are visionaries, know what “we” consumers need before we know we need it.

A great example of such a brand is Apple Computers - what an inspirational brand. They sold the world a future that at the time did not exist. Many years after, they still demand a premium for their products and we are willing to pay. Apple not only spoke, they worked hard to deliver on their promise.

Do you want to change your game?

I believe your brand needs to learn to laugh in the face of fear – because those who get out the boat and walk on water have a story to tell, and have others tell a story about them.

It is about delivering on the promise you make to the market. What promise? If your company says “everyday a different way” make sure your internal structures and delivery mechanisms speak to delivering on that. What do you want people to know about you? Then guard that with everything you have.

I am reminded of what Dr. Myles Munroe said when he was in Namibia in 2013. He said something about lions that do not hang around sheep because they know who they are. Lions are powerful because of that. Game Changer brands are like lions, when they reach the waterhole other animals scatter. When game changer brands reach the market, other brands scatter and they receive the reward for their focus and integrity (delivering on the promise).

Cornerstone Joe Public Consultants (Pty) Ltd is a strategic brand and communications strategy firm, offering services especially in the areas of brand and communications strategy development and execution. Email: or visit

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